Alaska student cold case trial slowed by coronavirus

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 1:31 PM AKDT
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The court case of a Maine man charged with the killing of a former Alaska university student has been stalled due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Steven Downs of Maine has been charged in the death of Sophie Sergie, who was a 20-year-old resident of Pitkas Point, Alaska, and former student at University of Alaska at Fairbanks. An Alaska judge was expected to preside over hearings this week, but they have been postponed, the Sun Journal


The defense in the case is hoping to dismiss the charges against Downs. Defense attorney James Howaniec of Lewiston, Maine, told the Sun Journal a conference with the judge has been scheduled for the end of May. Hearings won’t likely take place until the summer, he said.

Downs is charged with first-degree murder and felony sexual assault in the 1993 death of Sergie. The case was unsolved for years before DNA evidence led to the arrest of Downs in 2019.